We’ve all probably been watching too much American TV over the years. I know I have. And one of the things you always see the courtroom drama shows, which I love to watch is I’m pleading the fifth. You know, I’m taking, I’m pleading the fifth invoking the Fifth Amendment, and you’ll see a person refuse to answer on the grounds that it tends to incriminate them. So for example, they committed a murder and they’re being called to testify in another proceeding and the crown asks about that. He says, I’m pleading the fifth. You are not allowed to do that i in Canada. We have different laws. So if you’re subpoenaed to court in Canada, you can’t plead the fifth. What you can do though, is you can invoke sections 13 of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and section 5(2), of the Canada Evidence Act. Now, what does this mean? It means this look, you have to testify when you’re subpoenaed. But the answers you give cannot be used to incriminate you in a subsequent or further proceedings. So in other words, let’s say you admit to the crown on the witness stand and the judge that you committed a murder, you’re testifying in another murder trial. That cannot be used against you in another proceeding. You can’t be charged based on that. However, if you commit perjury, if you lie on the stand, it can be used against you. So you can be charged with perjury, if you do lie, so you would have to come to court and tell the truth. Now it’s probably why you don’t you know, technically have to invoke section 5(2) of the Canada Evidence Act which basically says the same thing of the Charter. But it’s probably wise thing to do, if you know you’re about to incriminate yourself, you say I’m answering with the protection of section 13 of the Charter and section 5(2) of the Canada Evidence Act. It’s probably important for you to get legal advice if you know you committed a crime. The Crown subpoenaed you and you’re concerned about it.  You should probably get some advice from a criminal lawyer about that. So that’s kind of the general theme of Fifth Amendment, the American TV. You can’t come to court and say, look, I plead the fifth, I’m not answering .You have to answer the question. It can’t be used against you. One way it can be used against you which you have to be fairly careful about is… Let’s say you’re testifying in a trial today, and you say something, okay. You tell the truth, but it’s inconsistent with what you’re saying later. So at a later trial, you’re charged with an offence, say, murder, and you said something that was a little bit inconsistent with what the future trial as well, your evidence that you testified at originally can be used against you as an prior inconsistent statement to affect your credibility. So let me give you an example. So let’s say today, you say well, I went to the store before 9pm. Okay, so that can’t be used against you and incriminate. But if you’re testifying at your own trial a year later, and you say, I went to the store at 11pm, while the crown can then say , well look it , a year ago, you said it was a different time and this this can affect your credibility or believability as witness. So it’s a much different system here in Canada we still have good protections is not quite as good as the states. I liked their system where you complete the steps because then you have the right to remain silent and not see anything. It’s a beautiful system, in my mind for a democratic country. But we have kind of a halfway house system that still works. And that section 13 of the Charter in section 5(2)  of the Canada Evidence Act. Thank you for watching our video. We are absolutely committed to bringing you the best possible criminal and DUI educational videos. If you found this video helpful, please like it and subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence in Ontario and require our services, please click on the link in the description below.

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